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Taylor Hall says his rehab is ahead of schedule

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG, CANADA - FEBRUARY 27: Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers and Bryan Little #18 collide mid-ice in NHL action at the MTS Centre on February 27, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

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The Edmonton Oilers are nearing the “seriously, start winning already” stage of their development. If they want to get there, they’ll need a great season from Taylor Hall - who’s approaching the first contract year of his career.

Recovering from shoulder surgery will be one of Hall’s biggest hurdles but he told Dan Tencer that things are going well so far. Hall said his rehab is “a little ahead of schedule,” allowing him to at least attempt to play in some pre-season games for 2012-13.

The 20-year-old forward improved on both his goals (27 from 22) and assists (26 from 20) despite playing in four fewer games in his second season. Either way, it’s a bit unsettling that his first two seasons in the NHL ended early because of injury issues.

Hall’s sturdiness is far from the only concern for a very flawed Edmonton team primed to make the first selection in a third consecutive entry draft, but it wouldn’t hurt to have him around for more than 65 games next season.